Last November saw a huge win for marijuana reform in the United States. The number of states with medical marijuana rose to 28 and 4 states (California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine) all legalized recreational marijuana. While there is certainly a lot to be happy about in this leap forward, saying marijuana is legal is only the beginning. Infrastructure needs to be put in place in all of these states before marijuana will be able to be purchased in a legal fashion. Until then, residents remain in limbo, forced to continue to seek underground means of acquiring the plant. But Maine marijuana business owners have come up with an idea of how to get their marijuana products out to the public.
Donation-Based Cannabis “Gifts”
The Cannabis Shack and Leafy Delivery have been the initiators of this movement in Maine. Products are being advertised as free on Craigslist with just a request for a donation for packaging and delivery. Would-be business owners have taken it upon themselves to initiate their business on their own terms to the extent that the law would allow. It is legal for Maine residents to have up to 2.5 ounces of pot and to grow their own plants. It is also legal to receive pot as a gift though it’s not legal to sell or buy it. This move bypasses the law that would prevent distribution and, up until now, law enforcement has not cracked down on these businesses although they disapprove. The alternative is for people to operate only in the underground and support the black market.
“A Larger Gray Market”
David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project said, “People have been handling the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for decades without the help of the state and they’re going to continue to. Some may feel emboldened now that it’s legal (to possess marijuana). Right now, they’re still breaking the law, but there’s definitely a larger gray market now.”
Other States Involved in the Gifting Option
Maine isn’t the only state taking this route towards legal marijuana sales. Businesses in Springfield and Boston have also been offering free marijuana “gifts” for delivery donations. There are also places in Washington D.C. doing the same thing. D.C. legalized marijuana a few years ago but they are yet to set up any infrastructure for a legal recreational marijuana industry. While Leafy Delivery offers “cannabis gifts” for delivery donations, The Cannabis Shack specializes in pot infused food. Jack Sargent, owner of The Cannabis Shack, plans to cater weddings and parties with his cannabis infused recipes which include an award winning hot sauce, brownies and weed infused salad dressings.
The state still needs to complete all the regulations for selling recreational marijuana and then issue licenses to both growers and retailers which is estimated to take until early next year. At that point, marijuana sales would become legal and the industry in Maine can begin to flourish. Until then, both business owners and residents will have to find a way to make things work in the most legal way possible.